AUSTRALIA’S COAL AND GAS ELECTRICITY GENERATION SOURCES TO BE OVERTAKEN BY SOLAR AND WIND

September 12, 2020

Australia’s top two electricity generation sources, coal and natural gas, have both seen demand in the country peak, a Rystad Energy analysis shows. The combined power production from coal and gas will be overtaken by electricity generated by solar photovoltaic (PV) and onshore wind farms from 2026.
In fact, installed power generation capacity from solar and wind top that of coal and gas already from 2023, but transmission limitations will prevent some of the electricity produced from these clean energy sources from reaching urban centers and cities.
Coal has been the king of fuels in Australia’s power generation history, but its share in the domestic generation mix has declined steadily from 83% in the year 2000. This year alone Rystad Energy expects Australia’s coal-to-power generation to decline 2.6% from 2019 to 145.67 terawatt-hours (TWh). The slide is likely to dip below 100 TWh already after 2024 and will continue in the years thereafter.
Gas-fired power generation, on the other hand, has kept rising in the past decade to a peak of 55.33 TWh in 2017, and was little changed at 54.36 TWh last year. Rystad Energy expects these levels will soon be a thing of the past, however, as we forecast gas-fired power generation to fall to 45.64 TWh in 2020 and to continue dropping every year until the end date of the analysis in 2040.
Australia’s overall power generation is forecast to slip to 263.88 TWh in 2020 from 265.23 TWh in 2019 as a result of lower electricity consumption during the Covid-19-related lockdowns. From 2021 onwards we expect an uninterrupted annual rise in Australia’s electricity generation all the way to 2040.
Solar and onshore wind-power generation is forecast to see a spectacular growth in Australia in the next years as roughly 200 gigawatts (GW) of PV, wind and storage projects are lined up to replace decommissioned coal-fired plants.
Although solar power will account for only 22.81 TWh and onshore wind for 27.24 TWh in 2020, Rystad Energy expects their combined power generation to grow by between 10 and 15 TWh annually through 2026, when their cumulative electricity output is set to reach just above 134 TWh, slightly more than the combined coal and gas-fired power generation.
(Source: Rystad Energy)